Coach Allegri signs one-year contract extension with Juventus

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Turin, May 7 (IANS) Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri has been rewarded with a one-year contract extension that will keep him with the Italian football champions until June 30, 2018.

Allegri, who joined Juventus in July 2014 and yielded Scudetto honours alongwith a historic tenth Coppa Italia success in his first season, penned a new agreement until 2017.

Having successfully defended their league crown this season, Juventus on Friday announced the former AC Milan coach will now remain until June 30, 2018.

This news also shut the rumours on Allegri taking over the Italian national team after Euro 16. National team head coach Antonio Conte will join English club Chelsea next season.

Juventus CEO Giuseppe Marotta said in a statement: “It was a formality. Since we started working with Allegri he has won two consecutive Scudetti and other very important trophies. It was only natural to want to continue the relationship.”

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Juventus struggled in the initial period of the Serie A season 2015-16. They were in 12th place after a loss to Sassuolo in week 10 in October, having started the season with just three Serie A wins, three draws and four defeats.

That was followed by 25 wins in 26 rounds, plus a 0-0 against Bologna on February 19, helped them get a fifth consecutive Scudetto. They are 12 points clear of second placed Napoli with two games left.

Juventus’ poor start was also due to the several personnel changes the club witnessed in the summer.

Three key personnel — playmaker Andrea Pirlo, attacking midfielder Chilean Arturo Vidal and veteran Argentine striker Carlos Tevez departed.

World Cup 2006 winner with Italy and former AC Milan star Pirlo, 36, is now playing for Major League Soccer (MLS) side New York City FC, while former Manchester City and United marksman Tevez, 31, left for his childhood club Boca Juniors.

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Vidal, 28, went to German heavyweights Bayern Munich on a 36 million euros ($40.73 million) four-year deal.

Forward Mario Mandzukic (Atletico Madrid) and midfielders Hernanes (Inter Milan), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid) and Paulo Dybala (Palermo) were the big signings for Juventus in the summer and they took time to settle down.

But 48-year-old Allegri turned combined youth and experience to stage a tremendous comeback that catapulted to them to the top.

They will face Milan in the final of Coppa Italia on May 21.

Allegri added: “Coaching Juventus is a great challenge and a big responsibility. The aim is always to win here.

“It was really exciting when I took over in the middle of the summer two years ago but it’ll be even more exciting when we start work on our future objectives this summer.”

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